POINT CLEAR, Ala. (WALA) - There's a major victory in the fight against animal abuse in Mobile and around the state.
Friday morning, May 24 in Montgomery, Governor Robert Bentley signed a bill passed by the legislature strengthening penalties against animal abuse in the state.
The bill passed by the Alabama Legislature on the final night of the session increases criminal charges for animal abuse.
SIGNING THE BILL
Bentley spoke Friday afternoon in Point Clear to a waterway group called the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association. It was then he told FOX10 he signed the bill that morning.
He said, "We wanted to make sure that people who are intentionally cruel to animals, they certainly do need to be punished. We just had to make sure that it didn't hurt farmers and chicken farmers, people like that, so, we had to make sure this bill is okay, so we signed it."
Supporters of the bill said one of the biggest benefits is increasing the penalty for severe forms of cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Linda Dooley, a law student from Baldwin County, helped write the bill the legislature passed.
Dooley said, "It gives us more accountability. It also puts tools in the hands of prosecutors. The police department will then believe that they can go out there and confiscate animals, go out there and make more arrests, because they have more tools now."
The bill also increases penalties for other forms of animal abuse from Class B to Class A misdemeanors.
SEVERAL HUNDRED SIGN A PETITION
During the legislative session, 4,000 people signed a petition sponsored by FOX10 News asking legislators to pass the bill.
The trial for Giuseppe Pino LoPorto continues today in Baldwin County. LoPorto, now 80-years-old, faces several sex abuse charges against a child dating back to the early 90s.
FOX10 News has learned William "Eddie" Patrick, captain of Mobile's First police precinct, has been demoted following an internal investigation.
Waking up to a chilly morning! Temperatures will be a little warmer this afternoon than what we saw on Thursday, we'll also see our winds shift from northerly to southerly with clouds increasing.
The Mobile Jaycees announce the members of the 2014-15 Azalea Trail Court.
Pastor of Lifeway Community Church Mike McPherson says thieves stole presents that would have been given to needy children.
A man who bought a bicycle three weeks ago finds out it was originally stolen, according to the original owner who reported it missing in October.